Podcast Transcript

Speaker 1: There’s elements that fans today empathize with that maybe fans in the past didn’t like, I think because we have more conversations about mental health and kind of what that looks like for our young artists. You know, the pressures that come from being photographed all the time, from being followed all the time, from you know, needing to have success in an industry where success the metrics change every year. You know, the metrics of what makes a hit changes constantly. There’s some level that that’s understood, but I constantly am seeing it. Just because I cover so much, you know, team pop music and internet culture and fandom culture, I do see kind of that be ignored sometimes when the fans have certain things that they want a walk.

Speaker 2: Yeah. So my name is Brittany Spanos.

Speaker 1: I’m a senior writer at Rolling Stone and I cover mostly pop music, but kind of a wide range of musical genres and music history, a lot of focus on teen culture, Internet culture, things like that, and I do a lot of interviews. I’ve interviewed Adele and Harry Styles and Cardi B for the cover of Rolling Stone, and currently I’m hosting Rolling Stones’s five hundred Greatest Songs with my colleague Rob Sheffield.

Speaker 3: Well, thanks for being on a virtual edition of the Takin a Walk podcast. Brittany, We’re gonna walk and talk virtually down memory Lane.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Nice, I’m very thrilled.

Speaker 3: Congratulations on the podcast. Are you having a good time putting it together? Yeah?

Speaker 2: I mean it’s been a blast.

Speaker 1: It’s literally just me and Rob talking, which is talking about music, which is what we do constantly, just now in front of microphones, so it’s really fun to kind of capture those conversations that I always love having with Rob and Brittany.

Speaker 4: How long have you been at Rolling Stone Magazine?

Speaker 2: I actually just reached my ninth year at Rolling Stone And.

Speaker 3: Was that a dream in your life? To ultimately write for Rolling Stone?

Speaker 2: It was my only goal.

Speaker 1: That’s the only thing I had prepared my felf for, so I’m really glad it happened because I have no other skills, so it was really just like rite music profiles.

Speaker 2: For Rolling Stone Magazine was the only big, big dream I had.

Speaker 3: So I don’t know if you find this from people you’ve interviewed, but I do see this this trend. I call it the no Plan B approach to success, which you clearly have followed, have you noticed this with other musicians and if so, oh.

Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah, I mean I feel like a lot, especially I interview a lot of younger artists. You know a lot of people who start out as teenagers or are teenagers when I’m speaking with them, and I mean, they clearly are doing it at a very early age and they’ve made that plan a work very early in their lives. But you know, I’ve talked with like Harry Styles and Adele and you know, Taylor Swift and like a lot of people like that, Olivia Rigo, like so many young artists who really just like this was all they wanted to do, and they started doing it when they were kids, and then they made it happen for themselves as quickly as possible.

Speaker 2: So yeah, I’ve noticed that trend a lot.

Speaker 3: Now, I know you’ve interviewed so many people at various phases of their careers.

Speaker 4: So you mentioned Taylor Swift.

Speaker 3: Yeah, And we obviously couldn’t go too deep into this podcast without mentioning Taylor Swift. At what phase did you get to interview her?

Speaker 1: So I actually interviewed her for a different podcast I was hosting called five hundred gradst Albums for Rolling Stone, and we were basically doing it was a much different format than five hundred Gread of Songs, which is obviously more conversational. This was kind of a more scripted, kind of kind of deep dive into how these albums were made that are on the list. And we ended up doing an episode on her album Read, which is ranked on the five hundred Gredest Albums of All Time list, and I was very thrilled that she was very down to talk for a little bit.

Speaker 2: She’s also really excited because this.

Speaker 1: Was an album that came out when she was in her early twenties. This was the time when she was very much becoming that tabloid celebrity that people still are obsessed with, but people didn’t really ask her about how the music was made at that time in her life. And she was really really excited to kind of look back and talk about how this album was made. And we did that interview before the re recorded version came out, So the interview was done in twenty twenty, actually that week after Folklore came out, So it was very funny to talk to her after she Surprised dropped an album that I think made people sort of listen to her music more seriously and actually take her songwriting seriously and be able to talk about music that she was also very proud of that she’d written almost a decade prior.

Speaker 3: What do you think, at its core is the key to her foundational success. I mean, she’s so brilliant in terms of understanding the culture that she she’s you know, appealing to.

Speaker 4: What do you think is that big key?

Speaker 1: I mean, I think she’s just honestly just a really brilliant songwriter, and I think she’s really remained true to songs that are about her life and about her development as a person. You know, you start listening to her when she’s fifteen sixteen writing songs from high school perspective, and now she’s in her thirties writing songs about you know, what her relationships in her life looks like at this point. And I think for her listeners, they’re able to kind of follow along in their own lives with her music and feel really connected to her in that way. I think especially listeners who have been with her since she was, you know, a teenager, since two thousand and six, and you know, even listeners who are discovering her for the first time. In the last few years who are the same age she was when she started releasing music. They’re able to kind of really hear their experiences be reflected in her songs. And I think that’s, you know, just kind of that remaining true to who she is and who she is as a songwriter is a big foundational element of that.

Speaker 3: I remember hearing from people that as she was building her fan base first in the Country universe, that every backstage sort of event that would happen was really closely watched over, I think by her mother in particular, don’t you think Also one key is that strong family foundation that she was brought up in. Yeah.

Speaker 1: I mean she’s always been very sort of like determined in the way where she’s been very grounded. She’s kept herself grounded, she’s kept her family around her without her family being overly involved in the business side, but her family is just kind of present in there, you know, and she’s able to sort of exist as her own as an artist, but also like have a support system that’s able to kind of keep her rooted into who she’s been in her entire life.

Speaker 2: I think it’s really important. I think she’s always.

Speaker 1: She very much avoided a lot of the pitfalls that happened for young stars who are trying to come of age or are literally coming of age in front of the spotlight, in front of millions of people.

Speaker 2: And she avoided a lot of the worst.

Speaker 1: Thing that could happen to a young star who’s had to go through puberty and life changes in front of the public eye, like.

Speaker 3: Maybe the problems that one Britney Spears has had to go through.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean a lot of you know, I mean, that’s someone who didn’t have a support of family, a family that you really cared about her well being above the business aspect of it, and you know, not everyone is lucky to have that, and I think that was a big, kind of a big point in the kind of downfall of Brittany’s mental health and public image.

Speaker 2: And a lot of that.

Speaker 3: I’m just curious about a couple of the other interviews that you mentioned, So at what point did you get Adele So I.

Speaker 1: Spoke with a Adele for her last album for thirty and that was, I mean, just like a dream come true interview. She’s fantastic and like exactly who she is. You know, she’s very funny, she’s very very raw, and honest, like, we had great conversations. She was just really really fun to be around. It was very I mean, all of her albums are very emotional, but this was a kind of particularly emotional period of her life that we were discussing.

Speaker 2: This was after her.

Speaker 1: Divorce, you know, her sort of reconvening her life as a mother, as a single woman, and kind of what that looked like for herself and for her son. And it was it was a pretty heavy interview for part of it, but also we ended up having a lot of fun in spite of you know, some tears and some really intense stuff that we were discussing.

Speaker 3: I hear she swears like a sailor.

Speaker 2: Oh, she definitely does.

Speaker 3: I mean, did she crack you up really a lot?

Speaker 2: Yeah, She’s very very funny. She’s so so funny.

Speaker 1: That was like probably the most I’ve laughed an interview, I think, like just like and we were talking about like a lot of like like her her dad had passed at the time that she was recording the album, on top of the divorce and top of like you know, she’s a lot of other really heavy things in her life. She hads some health issues and like we were still cracking up the entire time.

Speaker 2: It was so much fun.

Speaker 4: And then when you had Harry Styles, when.

Speaker 3: Was that wait that came out that came out wrong? I’m sorry, sorry.

Speaker 2: I spent time with Harry after.

Speaker 1: It was around the time that Harry’s House is being rolled out, and it was an interview that happened or that came out in between Harry’s House being released and his acting career. His career, I guess is like more of a leading man in movies, was just the game to launch.

Speaker 3: And have you had the opportunity to interview a particular person at two different phases of their career.

Speaker 1: Actually, yeah, it most recently had been with Dua Lipa. I wrote we have a column called Artists You Need to Know, and I interviewed her back in twenty sixteen. And this was well before twenty sixteen or twenty seventeen. It was well before her career taken off. I mean, she didn’t have a massive hit single the way that she has mini now. She didn’t have an album out yet, and it was very very early. But I there was a song that I heard by her that I really really loved, called be the One, and it was one of her first singles, and so I interviewed her then and then I actually just did her Rolling stonecover story this year nearly, you know, I guess, like like seven or eight years after the first time we had spoken, and so that was really cool to kind of talk to someone at two very different times in their career. And how different was she, you know, I think it was the first interview was much you know, shorter as an archie.

Speaker 2: You know, there wasn’t that much music.

Speaker 1: To talk about yet, but obviously she was just very excited and kind of you know, still sort of figuring out who she was as an artist. So I think it was fun to spend a lot more quality time with her for this past interview and to like really get to know her and also see her just like be this really confident star, you know, really know who she is as an artist, know what she wanted out of her album, out of what she’s making now. You know, I think when we first spoke, she was still kind of she was still in development for herself, you know, she was still figuring out what worked and figuring out what she even wanted to present to the world. So it was really nice to kind of meet with her at this point and see that difference and see her really come into her own.

Speaker 3: Back to Harry styles. Could you imagine that if you interviewed him now that he’s changed from that point that you did that interview.

Speaker 1: Oh, I’m sure, you know, I think they’re you know, I think any sort of I guess think especially with the context of when the album that I injured him about had come out. That was a PANDAM album, That was an album that you know, it’s kind of written in a lot of solitude. And then you know, that album, he was playing so many stadiums, playing some the biggest shows of his career. He was having the biggest hits of his career, hits that were even bigger than when he was in one direction. So I’m sure that’s completely changed his perspective on who he is as an artist, what he wants to do. I’m really curious about what his next sort of musical direction will be, just because you know, he had just kind of a string of like massive hits come from his last album. But yeah, I mean, I’m sure, you know, seeing that sort of level of solo fame kind of happen, I’m sure there’s a lot that’s changed for him.

Speaker 4: Do you think people in the general public truly understand the amazing pressure that is involved with these musicians in terms of their craft that they have to contend with.

Speaker 2: I think yes and no.

Speaker 1: Like, I think there’s elements that fans do empathize with in ways that fans today empathized with that maybe fans in the past didn’t like. I think because we have more conversations about mental health and kind of what that looks like for young artists.

Speaker 2: You know, the pressures that.

Speaker 1: Come from you know, being photographed all the time, from being followed all the time, from you know, needing to have success in an industry where success the metrics change every year, you know, the metrics of what makes a hit changes constantly.

Speaker 3: You know.

Speaker 2: I think there’s some level that that’s understood, but.

Speaker 1: I constantly am seeing it, just because I cover so much, you know, team pop music and internet culture and fantom culture. I do see kind of that be ignored sometimes when the fans have certain things that.

Speaker 2: They want from their favorite artists.

Speaker 1: You know, like if an artist has spent two years kind of silently living their life, there’s this like demand that they’re They’re like, where are they why aren’t they releasing new music, Why aren’t they promoting the song the way that I want them to promote it. Why aren’t they touring the way that I want them to tour. Why aren’t they doing the things that you know, they’ve decided are the correct way for them to manage their careers. So it’s interesting, I think, you know, it’s kind of that mix of they understand when an artist comes forward and it’s like, hey, touring life is really hard, and you know, the pressures can be a lot and this like desire to make things that are creative, creatively fulfilliate it doesn’t always match with the label’s desire.

Speaker 2: For me to have a mega hit, you know.

Speaker 1: But at the same time, the fans sometimes think they know it’s best, and so they kind of that ends up superseding a lot of valid sort of concerns and things like that.

Speaker 3: You know, we produced this other podcast it’s called Music Save Me, and it’s about from the musician standpoint. Certainly they’re you know, dealing with the pressures and the power of music and the healing power of music. Do you see more musicians being more open and sharing their challenge as they’re.

Speaker 1: Facing Yeah, I mean, I feel like I constantly am having interviews, especially with artists who are you know, in their twenties, who are kind of just you know, when on their first tour, like have been on like one to two.

Speaker 2: Tours and things like that.

Speaker 1: And I have constant conversations with artists who talk about sort of the difficulties of being on the road in a way that goes well beyond what I think the glamor glamorization of that had been for so many decades of like being on the road and like, you know, you have all these kind of you know, people waiting on you and fans screaming and yelling and things like that, but like they talk a lot about just kind of the physical demand of it, the emotional.

Speaker 2: Demand kind of just like how difficult it is.

Speaker 1: And I feel like those conversations are happening constantly in a way that I’ve noticed an uptick in over.

Speaker 2: The last few years.

Speaker 1: And I think especially post pandemic and post kind of like you know, the sort of isolation period that a lot of people were in. I think a lot of artists just you know, going from that to being on a road for you know, one hundred and eighty days, and like being in planes and buses and cars constantly, and you know, hotels and not really knowing where you live, and also having to produce new music because there’s a demand to keep that gullying in some way, those conversations I’ve been having like a lot more frequently than I think I had, you know, even nine years ago when I started working at Rolling Stone.

Speaker 2: I’ve noticed a lot a lot more of those lately.

Speaker 3: So I’m curious, do you and Rob and the other writers do you sort of play this little game of trying to find that particular rising star that you guys are gonna place your money on, that you know, maybe in a year or two will be a cover artist on Rolling Stone? Do you sort of play that sort of game?

Speaker 2: I feel like because it’s so you know, it’s so hard to kind of guess and grasp and things are going to happen like it, I.

Speaker 1: Guess less of a game, but it is really exciting when one of us kind of like hears something and we’re like, oh, we think this is going to be really big, you know, And sometimes that happens, like, you know, once a month, we’re getting an album that feels like this can really blow up and then we watch it blow up versus like sometimes there’s several months where it’s kind of.

Speaker 2: Dry and you’re like like, I don’t know that.

Speaker 1: Any of this is like going to really take off, and like maybe I like I kind of like it, but like it’s like, you know, not really like exciting.

Speaker 2: And then something happens and some artists kind of comes up and you’re like, this is like the next big thing. So it’s always really exciting.

Speaker 1: I feel like everyone gets really like you know, excited when they like write about someone really early and then you know, six months or a year or two years later, they have like a giant hit that you know you kind of you saw coming. So yeah, I think we’re all really kind of like stoked for ourselves.

Speaker 2: For each other.

Speaker 3: When that happens anyone or two in particular, you want to highlight that you sort of saw earlier than most of us.

Speaker 1: I’m actually like, I’m very I think this is the one the one thing I’ll be like very kind of like you know, haughty, haughty about you know.

Speaker 2: I’m just like I feel.

Speaker 1: Very proud of my ability to kind of like spot and pop artists that I feel like it’s gonna be really big, and so I’ve been very like this, this is something.

Speaker 2: I take a lot of pride in.

Speaker 3: I could tell I’m.

Speaker 1: Always like really excited that like, and I think it’s it’s not just like because like being right, it’s also just like I’m just excited, like it’s you know, the artist I love is getting more attention. I’m like excited to have everyone listen to them. So, you know, I was with there’s like Lizzo was something I was really early on.

Speaker 2: I remember covering her when Good as Hell and Truth Herts first came out, which was like twenty sixteen, was when those singles first came out.

Speaker 1: I covered her really early, you know, I was like, these are two excellent songs, and then to see them both hit number one two years later was like really really exciting, dou a leap. But of course again, like you know, did one of her first interviews in American Magazine and was really stoked to win. A couple of years later she had new roles and you know, one Kiss and all these big hits, and more recently, Olivia Rodriguez I wrote about her Verman driver’s license came out immediately kind of called it song of the Year, and then to see that book was like so cool to kind of see that kind of happen.

Speaker 2: And right now, Chapel Browne is an artist that I wrote about like a year and.

Speaker 1: A half ago that I’m I’m really obsessed with and she’s starting to get like a lot of attention right now, so like I’m like, I want everyone to listen to her. Please, everyone listen to her. So yeah, I feel like that’s like something I’m always really like excited about.

Speaker 3: I love that. Who are some of the writers or host slash interviewers that have sort of influenced you.

Speaker 4: Over the year.

Speaker 1: I mean Rob was a big one. Rob is like probably one of my biggest influences. I read his book Love as a Mixtape when I was in middle school and was obsessed with all his writing and so I was very very starstruck the first time I ever met him.

Speaker 2: And he’s just like the nicest person in the entire world.

Speaker 1: So I’m very thankful that he was so nice and very very supportive and has been just like an incredible friend.

Speaker 2: It’s like really honestly, like always, I think my mom was very.

Speaker 1: Like she like could not believe that I’d become friends with the writer that I was like upsetting over in high school, so he was a really.

Speaker 2: Really big one. I really really I love Chuck Closterman. His books were very influential on me.

Speaker 1: Ellen Willis Jessica Hopper has been a really great mentor to me over the years, and I’m a huge fan of her work. And yeah, I mean I was like a very religious Rolling Stone and Spend reader when I was in high school. So all those writers like meant the world to me. And it was fun walking in here and meeting them, you know.

Speaker 2: Like it was like really kind of cool to be like, oh.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I know you, your name, you’re byline, like trying not to be weird about it when I first started working here, because I was like, I know who all of you are, don’t worry.

Speaker 3: That’s great.

Speaker 4: Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?

Speaker 1: I went to I grew up in Chicago, So I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. And then I went to college in New York at NYU.

Speaker 4: Pretty great media school at NYU.

Speaker 1: Yeah, and I chose it because the Rolling Stone offices were in New York. I was really like, I was very obsessed. I was ready to.

Speaker 3: You were strategically obsessed.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I saw the address.

Speaker 1: I was like, Okay, it’s not San Francisco anymore, and I have to look at school in New York.

Speaker 2: So I applied to a lot of schools on the East Coast.

Speaker 3: So let’s talk about the Rolling Stone five hundred Greatest Songs podcast. First of all, how does that list get created? And this is the twenty twenty one list that is being referred to, correct.

Speaker 1: Yeah, yeah, So the both lists were made, with the original two thousand four lists and the twenty twenty one list.

Speaker 2: We’re both made through a vote.

Speaker 1: So it’s a vote tabulated from obviously people who work at Rolling Stone, but also a lot of other journalists and writers, you know, industry figures, musicians, and you know, it’s a combination of people who work in music.

Speaker 2: Who are voting on this.

Speaker 1: So it’s tabulated from just, you know, hundreds of voters.

Speaker 3: And each episode you walk through a particular focal point off of that five hundred Greatest Songs list in no particular order.

Speaker 1: Right, Yeah, yeah, I mean basically, Rob and I just kind of looked through the list when we were sort of brainstorming the pods, what it would sound like, what it would what we wanted it to be. You just kind of picked a bunch of songs that we really loved, you know, like we picked like fifty songs from the list. So we don’t really want to do it, you know, like go in chronological order, like you kind of just like it just feels like we’re going to miss a lot of stuff because there’s so much. There’s five hundred songs. We don’t know if we’re going to do five hundred episodes. It’s a lot of songs to clear, but you know, we’re trying to get through as many as possible and as many that you know, we feel passionately about. So yeah, we just kind of put together a list of songs that, like, I think especially for Robin Hu, you are like what.

Speaker 2: Are songs that we talk about all the time, and.

Speaker 1: Like what’s what are songs that like he and I have done a karaoke and like, you know, have had conversations about and artists that we love or artists that maybe we just are not writing about as much.

Speaker 2: That we kind of just like want to talk about and get into.

Speaker 1: So it was fun to just kind of randomly pick songs that we were passionate about and went from there. So so yeah, I was kind of a random, random assortment of things that we were really excited to talk that.

Speaker 3: I like the one that you did that sort of did the deep dive into hound Dog, Yeah, and talk about that and how you’ve focused on Big Mama Thornton and all that.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I mean that was so.

Speaker 1: I mean, obviously, like I said, like a lot of the songs were just us choosing things that we really loved, but there was a lot of songs that we chose that had sort of a significance in how different the two lists were.

Speaker 2: So for that one, it was kind.

Speaker 1: Of the debut of Big Mama Thornton’s version of hound Dog on the list was a big deal versus the Elvis Presley version, and we thought that’d be really great to talk about and to discuss just because that signified a law of changes in Elvis’s legacy at the time that the list happened. But also, of course the biopic on Elvis came out in the time since, and so that was a kind of like an interesting thing to sort of ponder about what the list would look like in the future because of this new interest from younger fans, but also kind of the way that the story of nig Maama Thornton and this song has been highlighted over the years was something that we really wanted to touch on in the process of making the episode, so that one was one where we knew that it was a great way to talk about both lists and sort of the time and place, because I think that’s so fascinating about each of the list, about kind of what changes in kind of cultural significance and what we sort of how the canon shifts over such a quick period, and that’s entirely based on who the voters are and of you know, when you get a new batch of voters, you know a lot of obviously, you know, I was not voting in the first list, so it’s you know, you have a lot of voters who are around my age who are voting for the first time, and the twenty twenty one list, we’re going to have a new batch of voters in the next list. Like, it’s kind of interesting and fun to kind of think about how that kind of shifts and what matters to different generations.

Speaker 3: You know, we had done this podcast a guy named Charles lockwadera who used to work for me years ago on a radio station I programmed in Boston, WZLX, and Charles before coming to ZLX, worked at this iconic rock station in Boston, WBCN, and I remember he told me the story that he was walking down the halls at BCN one time and he was whistling, and Big Mama Thornton happened to be in the radio station and she told him stop whistling. Just the visual of that, if you knew Charles, It’s funny enough. A guy, a powerful personality being put in his place by a legend.

Speaker 4: I just love it.

Speaker 3: I love it.

Speaker 5: We’ll be right back with more of the Taking a Walk Podcast. Welcome back to the Taking a Walk Podcast.

Speaker 3: So I don’t want to play the role of Rob Sheffield here, but I thought maybe we could walk through counting down from number ten to number one on the list and kind of get your take on some of these here and give people a flavor of what they would experience in your great podcast, Rolling Stones five hundred Greatest Songs of All Time? You gained for that, yeah, of course, Okay, So I’ll do like the big drum Roll number ten outcast hey, y’ah.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean, this is, in my opinion, one of the best pop singles and I think one of the sort of the highlights of the early two thousands. I feel like this was a song that really defined an entire sort of period of pop and rap music. And you know, I was really excited to kind of see it and rank so high. There’s a lot of there’s a several songs about outcasts on a list, but obviously this song kind of broke through a lot the noise in the two thousands and made such a big impact on a lot of younger artists, but also just like on this entire period of music, and it makes a lot of sense that it cracked the top ten.

Speaker 3: And I defy when you hear that song, if you’re in a bad mood and then you hear it, you can’t be in a bad mood anymore.

Speaker 2: You really cannot.

Speaker 1: If you hear it, shake it like a polarid picture and you don’t smile. That’s like blasphemy exactly.

Speaker 4: Okay. Number nine Fleetwood Mac Dreams.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean, this was the pilot of the podcast Rob and I we need to talk about this song.

Speaker 2: This song did not make it to the first list.

Speaker 1: This was actually a debut from Dreams on the twenty twenty one list, and again it’s you know, so much so interesting to think about what Fleetwood Math has done over the last I guess like decade without even trying in terms of becoming even more popular. You know, I opened my TikTok and like it’s constantly like Fleetwood Mac songs and teenagers talking about Stevie Nicks are trying to dress like her, and you know, it’s just like so crazy and cool as someone who’s love Flutwood Mac for a very long time to kind of see them get more popular as theaters go by, and especially Stevie Nicks, Like people are just so fascinated by her, and she’s someone who’s just you know, like we were talking about Taylor Swift earlier, like she’s just someone who she is. She is herself, Like she is just like being who she is as an artist, and she’s been that way her entire career without doing a bunch of like crazy kind of changes and shifts to her identity, Like she is just she is Stevie Nicks. And that is classic, legendary, like timeless in and of itself, and This song is just I mean lyrically beautiful. I mean, Lindsay’s guitar on it is just like so hypnotic, so smooth.

Speaker 2: It’s such a.

Speaker 1: Great kind of like breezy song, and I just I’m addicted to it.

Speaker 3: I was just at the Rock Hall of Fame we recorded a little walk through their episode and saw Stevie Nix’s or one of her dresses on display there.

Speaker 4: Yeah, and I was imagining that.

Speaker 3: I’m like, man, she probably would still wear that dress today.

Speaker 2: She definitely would.

Speaker 3: You know.

Speaker 1: She still comes out with like shawls from the you know, seventies and eighties and brings them on stage and it’s like, this is the shawl I wore on the Rumor’s Tour, you know, like she just has them.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I mean she’s really she is who she is.

Speaker 1: I was like, so she is so authentic to who she’s been because that’s just her and it works.

Speaker 3: Number eight Missy Elliott Get Your Freak Gone.

Speaker 1: This is another really really fun episode that Rob and I recorded. I mean, you know, there’s it could have been really any Missy Elliott song in the top ten. I think she is like one of the most forward thinking artists of the last you know, thirty years. Like she is so inventive with her music videos, with her production, with her wrap flow, like she made so many she has made like so many incredibly massive hits by being the weirdest person on the charts at all times. Like, you know, I think this is a really great example of like her and Timbaland’s chemistry. This is like such a great you know, there’s this all these like kind of like world music elements to how it was made, and I mean just you know, it’s that mix of she’s such a great kind of like poppy, you know, really great. She loves with like dance music, you know, but also is just a genuinely incredible MC. You know, I think, like deeply underrated in her own sort of obviously kind of the inventiveness of hers. The biggest part of the conversation with was the Elliott, But like her flow and her rapping is just like unparalleled, unmatched.

Speaker 3: Number seven The Beatles Strawberry Fields.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean, I again, like it’s always I’m with the voters and like kind of what happens, Like it’s like so fascinating that this is the Beatles song. I’m curiously you know, Rob and I talk about this all the time, where it’s like, even three years later, would this still be the Beatles song that everyone would vote for? Because it could change at any time. It could be any any Beatle song kind of is changing in popularity, and you know, influence and impact even just in what you hear on the radio constantly. And I mean this is this was not the Beatles song I voted for, But I do love this song. I think I love sort of all the like psychedelic influence on them, and you know, I think this is you know, it’s always kind of fascinating to kind of see, especially with artists like Beatles or Bob Dylan or The Stones who kind of have all these like massively influential hips, what sort of rises up in each of these kind of voting periods.

Speaker 3: Which Beatles song did you vote for?

Speaker 1: So I’ve had to put drive my Car because I love RUBBERSA and I think that was like a perfect song and I think it’s so good.

Speaker 2: So that was the one that I had put on my list.

Speaker 4: Ever interview a Beatle, No, I think.

Speaker 1: I would actually be too nervous. I think like there’d be people like I don’t really get starstruck anymore. But I genuinely when I saw Paul McCartney live, like that was like an out of body experience, just because I was like, I can’t believe I’m here. It’s just like it felt like it just felt like insane that he exists and that I got to see him live at any point in my life.

Speaker 2: So yeah, I don’t know. I think I’d be way too too neenervous.

Speaker 3: To do it.

Speaker 4: I get it.

Speaker 3: Number six Marvin Gaye What’s going on?

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean Marvin gay topped the album’s list. I actually am surprised that the song didn’t go a little bit higher on the list because this album was number one on the most recent Boat of the Black Uncher Greatest Albums. But I mean this song has had sort of this kind of like timeless meaning to it. I mean, still as prescient and urgent now as it was when it first came out. And you know again, just I mean, Marvin gay I think, is someone who is, like has proven to be one of the most endurant artists of all times, someone who’s kind of generationally kind of defies any sort of generational odds with that, And so I think this song Yeah, again, I was surprised that didn’t actually kind of go to the top thirty on this list because of the album list. But you know, I think, especially again thinking about the timing of the voting, like this was at a time sort of the vote happened shortly after a lot of the Black Lives Matter protests, Like I think this song was weighing really heavy on a lot of people’s minds at that time as well.

Speaker 4: Number five Nirvana smells like teen.

Speaker 1: Spirit, you know, another one where it’s like this song is always going to be in I think the top five or top ten, Like Nirvana was actually talking of the about this with the colleague recently. There are still so many teens and pre teens who just find themselves drawn to this song and to Kurt Cobain into Nirvana, like that will keep happening. It’s like basically a puberty rite of passage at this point that you have to become a Nirvana fan when you’re you know, eleven, twelve and then just kind of carry that for the rest of your kind of light probably, but also just your adolescence definitely. And this song is, you know, such a defining moment for an entire decade and for an entire generation, but has continued to be kind of this massive touchstone for anyone exploring that and too, you know, I think every again, like every teenager kind of finds themselves drawn to Nirvana at some point, I did, like still.

Speaker 3: A number four Bob Dylan like a rolling stone.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean again, like this is a song that I think, you know, I’m always kind of surprised that this is still like the Bob Dylan song that people still kind of really love and or job. I mean, there’s just again, like there’s so many, there’s so many great songs to and go to, but you know, the song it’s like one of his like poppier songs, is even like kind of like one of the just like that that kind of classic Bob Dylan moment, and you know, it’s a song then again, will I think will always be in the top ten of the list. I think people will always buy themselves voting for this because it’s such like a feed of songwriting, of his musicianship, of this like shift in his own career and his own identity as an artist, and you know, I think that this will this will always be kind of a top build song for for future lists.

Speaker 4: Any chance you’d ever interview.

Speaker 2: I think I don’t know.

Speaker 1: It seems like it’s kind of a difficult interview, like you, I don’t know. I think my interview and style wouldn’t measure with him. I think I’m too like you know, I don’t know. Maybe he’d be trying by me.

Speaker 3: I think he would be.

Speaker 4: I actually I believe that.

Speaker 3: Did you ever see this Martha Quinn interview that she did with him back in the mid eighties, I don’t think so. Oh you got to check it out, because he’s obviously smitten with her. Yeah, so he’s a little more loose and open, and it’s still odd beyond belief. You know.

Speaker 1: Maybe I would kind of appreciate the oddness. I would want him to like buy to me a bunch, you know, like I want like one of those like classic Bob Dylan, like he’s just making up stuff the entire time type of interviews.

Speaker 3: Right. Well, you mentioned starstruck. I got to share this with you and with our audience. I had the opportunity to be introduced to him at one point, and I was massively starstruck, of course, because it was like with ten of us and he made eye contact with us upon the introduction, and then that was the last eye contact we had during our fifteen minutes or whatever that we had you know, backstage before he went on. And but he then says at one point, anybody want to do his shadow whiskey? And I don’t think any of us took him up on it, but I didn’t. And it’s one of my only regrets that I really shared life, because I’ll never have that opportunity to do that again.

Speaker 2: Take the shot of whiskey from Bob Doyling.

Speaker 3: They really, I’m surprised you’re not hanging up on me, like saying, why am I talking to this maroon here?

Speaker 2: Was it before or after he launched the Knock It on Heaven’s Store?

Speaker 3: Was before?

Speaker 2: Oh wow?

Speaker 3: Yeah? Before yeah? And then the show that we went to that that was at that same event. It was one of those classic Bob really craps the bed shows, which you know he said, people of you know, but boy, what a what a treasure? My god. I could go on and on, but I can’t because we’re off the number three Sam Cook, A change is gonna come.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean, I mean this song has I feel like has especially in the last couple of decades become sort of a modern standard. You know, I think this is a song that you know, we see a lot of artists cover and kind of be drawn to and kind of drawn just both in terms of thematically but also Sam Cook’s incredible voice. But you know, this is a song that’s become like one of those very very timeless kind of musical standards, like this is a song that again there’s there’s several songs and that there’s you know, half of the top ten. I would say probably will continue to stay that way for a very long time because those songs are just you know, they are the song that people continue to turn to no matter what and find themselves drawn to.

Speaker 2: And I think this is this is one of them.

Speaker 3: Number two Public and Me Fight the Power.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean I think you know this them as as a group, but also this song itself. I was very pleasantly surprised to kind of see that voters again still very very drawn to Public Enemy, drawn to their messages, drawn to this particular song. You know, I think that I was. I was really excited to kind of see this rank so highly on the list and continue to endure for a lot of people, and you know, the album would We did an episode on the album as well, and that album also ranked I believe number two as well on the album’s list. And you know, I think those messages, that urgency, that that you know, kind of intensity and just I know, their flows and just the way they perform is such a major influence on everything we hear today, but also just continues to be much like What’s going On, still very prescient in this time and era.

Speaker 3: Number one drum Roll Aretha Franklin.

Speaker 1: Respect Yeah, I mean I was, Yeah, I think I loved seeing Areada hit number one on this list.

Speaker 2: This is a classic song, so fun.

Speaker 1: I mean, it’s like, imagine not knowing the lyrics to the song, you know, like it’s like a song that you just kind of it’s with you your entire life. You don’t know at what point you’ve met it, but it’s been there. It’s like an old friend, you know. You’re just like the song has been by me since I was born, you know, And I think for a lot of people, it’s this This is the type of song that much like, hey, if you heard it in the wild and you don’t smile, that is insane.

Speaker 2: That is it?

Speaker 1: Would be crazy to hear the song, you know, not immediately start singing along because you know every single lyric and every single little like vocal intonation that Averretha does and it’s like stuck in your brain forever, and that is a sign of a great song.

Speaker 3: So let’s break down some of the other fun facts. So, most represented artists or music on the list. Oh, yeah, I know the Beatles is the is the most represented? Is that correct? Yes?

Speaker 2: I believe the Beatles are. I know.

Speaker 1: We actually just recorded an episode on Beyonce and she’s the youngest artist. Who’s the most represented youngest artists. That’s why I way to wait say it, but yeah, she’s But yeah, the Beatles and who else I think the Stones have of David Bowie.

Speaker 4: I think it’s Beatles, dill In Bowie, Stone.

Speaker 1: Stones, then Prince and Beyonce and Bruce kind of our up there. But yeah, the Beatles have twelve songs on the list. And you know, again, this is why I think, like it’ll be fascinating to see in another ten years or whatever, the next time we do a big vote on this list, what Beatles song is up there? Because I think that changes constantly in terms of musical influence because they’re one of those bands that are still extremely popular that young fans are still being drawn to that people. You know, if you’re picking up a guitar today, you’re probably gonna learn a Beatles song on it. You know you’ve picked up for the first time, Like that’s gonna be one of the first, like few songs you want to learn. So I’m always kind of curious, like what what shifts and what changes and which which songs by a band like the Beatles will continue to evolve and be popular the next time we do a big.

Speaker 2: Goal like this.

Speaker 3: How riled up do people get, you know, if they disagree about you know, somebody.

Speaker 4: Not being on a list or where they are.

Speaker 1: Yeah, every every list, people get so so mad. This one obviously a lot of intense feelings around the list, you know, it’s the conversation around it lasted like like so long. I tapped out after a while of reading people’s takes on it after it dropped. But people, really, they love to argue over this stuff, and they always have strong feelings and there sometimes I’ll meet people in you know, rand parties or at like dinners or things like that, and I’ll say where I work, and they immediately are like, I didn’t like that this song didn’t make the top ten of the album’s or songs list, and I’m like, I can’t change that. And also, what was your name?

Speaker 3: Again? I have one bone to pick on the list? Yeah you want to hear it? Okay, you might see behind me if you could kind of squint. There’s a picture up on the wall back there. It’s John Prine. Oh yeah, you only have one John Prine on the list, which I think is number three hundred and fifty Angel from Montgomery.

Speaker 4: Why not more John Prine on the list?

Speaker 2: You know, we got we gotta get the voters. We gotta get people.

Speaker 1: You gotta vote in the next one, Like get the.

Speaker 2: John Fine on there.

Speaker 1: I mean, like, I think, even like on staff, we all have like bones to pick with it, you know, Like I think that there should be more like pop punk songs on the list. I think that there’s a lot of huge influence that those songs have had, and I would like to see more of that represented. You know, I think everyone has like their own sort of qualms, even in this building.

Speaker 3: I would bet on the next list, Beyonce’s latest has to be on it.

Speaker 1: What do you think, Yeah, I mean, I think definitely. I’m really really curious. I think she’s going to jump up a lot in the next vote of it. I think she’ll jump up a lot. I think Taylor Spect will jump up a lot. And I’m curious what that’s how to look like on the on the next vote, because you know, the cannon’s change and I think you know we’re if you’re looking at Especially again, so much of this marks what’s influencing culture at the moment that it’s being voted on.

Speaker 2: So I think those are going to be two.

Speaker 1: Artists to kind of especially in comparison to the other artists who have a lot of songs on the list. I think they’re going to be two of the youngest artists to have the most songs on the list.

Speaker 2: The next time we do a big vote like this, what should take on her Country?

Speaker 3: The album?

Speaker 1: I love it. I’m a big fan of it. I love country music, I love Beyonce. It’s really kind of a dream album for me. It’s like a really like a you know, combination of things that I really enjoy, but also like you know, it’s not like a super straightforward country album, which I like it’s like a lot of like kind of cowboy Western themes to it, a lot of big rock moments, a lot of like kind of like Tina Turner esque kind of tributes, especially like a song like Yah Yah, which I absolutely adore on there, but it’s just kind of like a bun Southern moment from her, and I’m a big fan of it. I’ve been listening to a NonStop.

Speaker 4: Do you think Morgan Wallen would make it on the list?

Speaker 1: You know, I prob maybe, you know, again, like it’s it depends on when we do the next quote right, like I think, you know, I guess it was nearly two decades in between. We did like a sort of like refresh in twenty ten of the list without a big vote, But you know, if we do it in like five years, I guess it depends, like you know, if we have depending on who the voters are, depending on like who kind of comes in especially, so much of that I think ends up being reflected by just like the you know, if we have a larger group of like gen Z voters, you know, who are like maybe five them to be very inspirational to what country music sounds like now, then maybe that could happen, But yeah, I’m curious kind of what that will look like. You know, there’s so many artists who have you know, obviously, like having a big hit doesn’t mean necessarily that you’ll get on the list or that the impact matters in the long run. So it could be very fascinating to kind of see what happens with that in five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years.

Speaker 3: In closing, we know we live in this divided country, and yet we do know one of the things that people can agree upon is music. Yeah, what’s your take on that?

Speaker 1: Yeah, I mean I think, you know, people, music is something that I think everyone has their own kind of very intense emotional personal connections to, you know, an artist or a song or an album. You know, everyone kind of has something that they has carried them through a specific moment in their life or through their entire life, or through a relationship or a bad day or a good day. You know, Like, I think everyone kind of has at least one thing, whether it’s an artist, song, or or genre or whatever, that means the world to them. And I think that’s really beautiful. And you know, I think I’m someone who kind of my take on a lot of that is like I’m excited when people tell me what that is, you know, and I even if it’s not my thing, you know, I get excited to see how people connect with, you know, any sort of form of music in their life because it is so personal and so fluid and so different for each person, and it’s really special kind of like how that can shift and even just like you know, even for the same song, you know, like I’m sure that someone’s relationship with you know, with like hey y’ah is different from someone else’s and you have specific memories tied to it, and that’s so crazy and cool because then you can dance with them and kind of each kind of carry your own kind of histories with that song. And I think that’s such a beautiful, beautiful thing. But yeah, I mean it’s it’s it’s nice. Yeah, I think it’s just such a great connector and even kind of sharing the favorite artists, Like it’s so fun to go to concerts and kind of share that moment with you know, hundreds or thousands of people who come from all different walks of life from you, who maybe love you know, Beyonce and are all in the stadium together and having a great time and crying to different moments and dancing to moments and you know, kind of having that weight of all your memories and your life experience kind of be soundtracked by it and it’s really special.

Speaker 4: Well, this has been really special.

Speaker 3: I really enjoyed. Brittney Spanos, Brittney and Rob Sheffield The Rolling Stones. It’s Rolling Stone five hundred Greatest Songs podcast available. I’ll give the plug. How’s that? Available at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. How was that?

Speaker 2: It was amazing? Thank you so much.

Speaker 4: You were amazing.

Speaker 3: Thank you.

Speaker 5: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Takin a Walk podcast. Share this and other episodes with your friends and follow us so you never miss an episode. Taking a Walk is available on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.